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NaNoWriMo Ate My Brain-New Blog Post

Well  I finally did NaNoWriMo. Have been saying that I would participate in it for years now and I finally got my ass in gear, dusted off the copybook that contained my story that I had started as an undergraduate and started working on typing it out during the month.

The first week went ok for me, had little to no problems. Then came Sunday, the start of the second week and a tiredness had come over me then. I did however battle on a good bit with it as best I could.
Wednesday was possibly the worst day stress wise to try and get any typing done, what with having an appointment up in Dublin in the evening. Nevertheless, as soon as I got back to the hotel room, I worked at it until the 12am deadline. Thursday was a little manic also, but steadily working until I hit my personal target of 2,000+ words with just 5 minutes to spare helped a lot.

Week Two went well for me. It was rather difficult to really keep myself motivated, however I had stocked up with tea and had a little ritual of tea and yoghurt raisins or nakd bars when I would go to write some more in the evening (I had decided to fast off sweets for the month of November) as well as writing in the morning before I started work and during my lunch hour. So I emerged the end of week two relatively unscathed.

Week Three was a little more problematic for me. I was kind of busy as well with getting the cinema times post together and posted on the Irish Whovian blog for the Doctor Who  50th that Saturday. However i did get it fully up successfully. Saturday was the only day that I didn't reach my daily limit. One day out of the month wasn't too bad to miss.

Week 4: The final week. Winning commenced that Monday. I would have been finished only I missed that Saturday(but dammit, it was soooo worth it ^_^). However it didn't really matter that much in the end as I was nearing the end. On the Monday, we had to go again up to Dublin. However, I still did manage to get to my limit for the day. I worked a little after midnight until I hit just over the 50K mark. Then I validated it. However, when I did validate it, I made sure that I had a bit of an ending set up. I was far from finished though, after I had validated. I set about checking to see did each of my scenes that i had wrote properly linked into each other. That took two days to do, thankfully I was only worried about the final few chapters, I had a feeling that the start chapters were ok. By the time I had finished, my total word count stood at 51,133.
Needless to say, I am thrilled.

The story of finally writing my novel down started a good couple of years ago in a hotel room in Carlow, I had moved out from where I was staying as it was affecting my health(it was too damn damp and I had pneumonia as a child, which has affected my lungs permanently so it just didn't suit me to stay there. I'm not asthmatic from it, I just get very painful chest infections).  And I remember that I was watching  that Scott Walker documentary and being inspired to write by it. I wrote the first couple of chapters in a notebook, but it was slow. It was originally going to be about the Picts of Alba, however I soon ran into problems with that. And I found it hard to get back to it. So when I say that I "dusted off the copybook", I really actually did. This idea would just not go away from me.  It burrowed into my head like a Ceti eel and refused to budge. So finally this summer I originally took it down and tried to do something with it.

The first thing that I changed was the location. Going with the old saying of "going with what you know", it was really an easy decision to do that, as the other idea was just not working out for me. This slight adjustment proved brilliant for me. It really opened up the story for me and allowed me to add new characters that I had thought that I couldn't before and do things that i couldn't probably have done before.
Maybe it was because of how I had gone about writing it up this time that had helped me.

However, I must iterate that every writer's writing habits are going to be different, what would necessarily works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. However, I can give a few tips that I did that worked for me, however again I reiterate, every writer is different and what works for one person might not work for the next.

1.Plan well in advance: Some writers just tell you that you might want to plan ahead. I'm taking a bit more of a  definate stance on this: Plan your writing ahead of the first of November. This is crucial as during the month you will find yourself having to go back to reference your own notes that you made. It also helps to refresh your memory about what you wanted to happen in the story and the direction that you wanted to take with it. It is a real handy tool when you find yourself face to face with a writers block that you can't quite shake off. Your plan could contain some little nugget that you have forgotten to write about that could help to get those neurons firing again with ideas.

2.Research the topic that you are covering well in advance of starting: If, like me your subject matter is one that you really found interesting and had found it hard to shake an idea out of your head. Go research the topic a little more. It could hold the key to expanding the wealth of characters that you planned to create or help you to be accurate about the topic that you have picked to write about.

3.Treat it like some people treat writing fanfiction: Get it down on page: It doesn't have to be any bit elegant or in any way up to your usual standard, however you will find that when you go back after November 31st, you will have achieved an complete work With a beginning, middle and end.

4.Another thing that is essential is to know for yourself when is the best time to write for you. Everyone's time for writing is different, some find the morning the best time to write. Some find at night. I had been lucky enough to find some time in the morning and during my lunch hour too to get it done. However when I got home I would give myself until 9:30, sometimes even ten to write. Then I would continue to do so up until 12AM.

5. Another little tip that i have would be one which was given at the start of the November NaNoWriMo month by Tim in the video below which really worked for me was to write the first line of your next chapter each time to set yourself up for what happens next. This was invaluable for me as I would often feel very frustrated when faced with a black page.

6. Remember to take a break from your writing for a few hours. You will come back more refreshed and think of more when you have been away from it for a bit.

7. Remember to read something during the month not related to your own work. It will help you to relax a bit and also might help give you ideas for your story (but don't plagiarise)

8.Be tenacious, be consistent. Write every day if you can. As Dory from Finding Nemo sings 'Just keep swimming', and that's what a person has to try and do when 'swimming' that ocean we call NaNoWriMo. We have to keep going and try not to give up so easily.


( 2 scratched — Scratch me )
Dec. 4th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Congratulations! I didn't even attempt it this year. Between 2 jobs and school, I knew I wouldn't have the time.
Jan. 1st, 2014 02:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, am dead chuffed I managed to do it :D

( 2 scratched — Scratch me )

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